Christmas & the Dangers of Wasteful Dissipation

Christmas is an incredibly difficult holiday for the soon-to-be divorced. While other families are preparing to celebrate their love and good fortune, you’re in the process of negotiating a divorce settlement agreement. In America, spending money on Christmas presents in practically a cultural tradition. When you’re feeling the Christmas blues, it’s easy to adopt unhealthy spending habits to offset the emotional impact of your divorce. However, your “emotional spending” can easily impact your divorce case if the court decides you’re practicing “wasteful dissipation.”

Defining Emotional Spending

A person engages in “emotional spending” when they specifically spend money to improve their mental or emotional condition. For example, you can buy expensive Christmas gifts for your children and loved ones to bring a spark of happiness into your life. But if you spend too much money, you could face financial ruin or an unfair divorce settlement agreement.

Determining Wasteful Dissipation

When angry or depressed spouses want to punish or retaliate against their future exes, they may try to dissipate shared marital assets before the divorce is finalized. In fact, many guilty offenders intentionally waste these assets before the divorce settlement agreement can even be negotiated! By doing this, the offending spouse hopes to prevent their ex from receiving a fair or significant share in the settlement. After all, you can’t take what’s already been spent, right? Wrong.

If a mistreated spouse starts noticing suspicious charges, they may take retaliatory action by hiring a forensic accountant. These professionals are specifically trained to locate hidden assets and investigate financial statements for incriminating inconsistencies. A forensic accountant can collect applicable evidence and prepare an interrogatory that helps the court determine how assets should be equitably distributed. It’s important to note that equitable means “fair,” not “equal.” If an offending spouse is found guilty of wasteful dissipation, they may be burdened with a divorce settlement that financially favors their ex.

Managing Your Spending Habits on Christmas

To secure a beneficial divorce settlement agreement, you need to curb that emotional spending. Before you start a Christmas shopping spree, take stock of your assets and calculate how much your spending is impacting your shared accounts. Use this information to create a budget for yourself. Granted, the court understands that holiday shopping is part of the celebration. You just need to be smart about it. If you’re planning important purchases with shared accounts, you may want to discuss it with your future ex. For example, if you’re buying something special for your child, your spouse may be understanding and supportive considering the circumstances.

At the same time, you may want to pursue alternative stress relievers. Instead of pulling out that credit card, you can reread a beloved book, have a holiday movie marathon, or even decorate the house with your children. By avoiding this bad habit, you can prepare for the future, avoid ongoing financial devastation, and protect your standard of living.

Schedule a Consultation to Explore Your Legal Options

If you have questions or concerns about wasteful dissipation, contact the New Port Richey divorce lawyer at Dale L. Bernstein, Chartered Law Office. Attorney Bernstein can assess your financial situation and even serve as your forensic accountant. By collecting evidence, he can develop a comprehensive negotiation strategy that provides you with a beneficial divorce settlement.

Contact Dale L. Bernstein, Chartered Law Office at (727) 312-1112 to schedule a consultation.


Choose the Most Qualified Attorney
for Your Family Law Case.

    • Please enter your name.
    • This isn't a valid phone number.
      Please enter your phone number.
    • This isn't a valid email address.
      Please enter your email address.
    • Please make a selection.
    • Please enter a message.
Contact Attorney Bernstein Today